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3 Best Acids for Skincare

3 Best Acids for Skincare

Acids for Healthy, Happy Skin

Putting acid on your skin might not sound like the best idea at first glance. But skincare acids offer up a world of brightened, tightened, gently-exfoliated wonder. So how do they work? Skincare acids are most often used for exfoliation. Sloughing off that outer layer of dead, dull skin reveals the fresh, new you underneath.

There are two primary groups of skincare acids: beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Both of these acids achieve exfoliation of your outer skin layers. Depending on the potency of the acid, you might see visible flaking and shedding. When that momentary annoyance passes, you’ll be left luminous and fresh-faced.

Below, we’ll take a look at the 3 best acids for skincare, plus one bonus acid!

Benefits of the Best Acids for Skincare

When you use skincare acids on your face, particularly AHAs, you’ll get multiple benefits:

  • Minimize fine lines and wrinkles
  • Trade dullness for a youthful glow
  • Improve overall texture
  • Stimulate collagen production

BHAs, on the other hand, are usually noted for these benefits:

  • Deep-cleaning of pores
  • Improved acne
  • Exfoliation

Choosing which skincare acid to use depends on your unique needs and what you want to accomplish. Let’s take a look at two AHAs and one BHA that can help you achieve your skincare dreams.

The Best AHAs

Glycolic Acid

If you enjoy reading your skincare packaging, you’ve probably seen this ingredient a lot. Glycolic acid is one of the most popular acids in skincare. Because it has the tiniest molecule of all the acids, Glycolic acid can penetrate the skin at a deeper level than any other.

But because it’s so effective, Glycolic acid isn’t your best bet if you have super sensitive skin. Of all the skincare acids, this is the most likely to cause some irritation. Use it sparingly and with caution. While it’s certainly effective at exfoliation, it’s probably not your best bet for daily use.

Fruit Acids

Fruit acids, on the other hand, are very gentle and safe enough for sensitive skin. There are quite a few fruit acids found in skincare. Malic acid (usually from apples) and citric acid (usually from grapefruit or lemons) are a couple of popular examples.

These acids aren’t as intense as Glycolic acid, and they mainly work on the uppermost layer of your skin. Fruit acids are also beneficial because they help boost the potency and effectiveness of other active skincare ingredients.

The Best BHA

Salicylic Acid

Anyone who’s struggled with acne, or just targeted the occasional breakout, has probably purchased a product with this ingredient. Salicylic Acid is hands-down one of the most prominent ingredients for managing and eliminating acne.

If you’re looking for a skincare acid that goes deep to dissolve pore-clogging oil while helping you shed the outer layer of dull skin, this is the acid for you. And although it’s tough on acne, Salicylic Acid isn’t hard on your face. It has anti-inflammatory properties, so it won’t anger your already agitated skin.

What about Hyaluronic Acid for Skincare?

We saved HA for last because it’s technically a humectant. That means it doesn’t perform the same way these other acids do. Rather than help you exfoliate, Hyaluronic Acid locks in moisture and promotes water retention. This makes it a great companion skincare acid, soothing and restoring your skin after peels, exfoliators, or serums.

Attainting HA-inspired levels of hydration can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In fact, Hyaluronic Acid is celebrated for its ability to transform parched skin into plump perfection. Check out an entire line of HA-rich products right here.


With skincare acids, it’s always a good idea to test them out before working them into your routine. Try putting a small amount of product on your inner arm. This will help you determine whether you might have a reaction. Wait 24 hours, and if everything looks good, you can add your new skincare acid to your regimen.

Because acids can be potent, you probably won’t want to use them more than twice a week. That said, exfoliation is an essential part of your skincare practice and a healthy habit that will keep you looking fresh, fierce, and luminous.

But don’t forget the rest of your body! Explore a treasure trove of silky, luxurious body butters here.

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